Let’s Set Up Your Google Business Profile (A Guide for Small Business)
Please note that since writing this post, Google has changed the name of Google My Business to Google Business Profile.
Your Google My Business profile will ensure that your business is a top result in local searches; more customers will find you quickly and easily. We’re going to walk you through the steps (with pictures) so that you’ll be able to get your Google My Business (GMB) profile up in no time!
Why It’s Important to have a Google My Business Profile
Local SEO matters! Did you know that 46% of all Google searches are looking for local information? Your customers want to find you! Searches including the phrases “near me” and “by me” have increased 900% in just two years. (Source: Chat Meter)
Once your customers find your business information, they want to connect with you ASAP: 88% of searches for local businesses on a mobile device lead to calls or visits within 24 hours. (Source: Nectafy)
Your Google My Business profile will enable you, with very little time and energy spent, to capitalize on these trends. And, once you get your profile up and running, you can check out Google’s suggestions for improving your GMB ranking.
Step #1: Sign in to your existing Google account.
If you don’t have an account, you can create one.
Step #2: Visit https://www.google.com/business.
Once you’re there, click the blue “Manage Now” button.
Step #3: Type your business name.
As you start typing, the autocomplete feature will suggest the names of local businesses (if there are any that have the same name). If you’ve previously set up your business listing, your business name will be one of the suggestions that populate the field. This can help you:
- Avoid inadvertently creating multiple listings for your business
- Add new GMB profiles to your business if you open a second (or more) locations in the future
Step #4: Type your business address.
This needs to be a physical location where you interact directly with your customers.
Next, you’ll see an entry form with the statement: “Do you want to add a location customers can visit, like a store or office?”
As the owner of a Service Area Business, you will have two choices for proceeding:
- If customers can meet you at your business location, click “Yes.”OR
- If you do not have a physical business location where you interact with customers, click “No.” When you do, the next checkbox and statement will appear: “Where do you serve your customers? (optional).”
Note: If you deliver goods and services to your customers you will always have the option to specify a service area in the next step.
Step #5 (for Service Area Businesses): Enter information about the areas your business serves.
Note: If you don’t serve customers outside this location you simply go to step 6 choose your business category.
This helps ensure that Google returns your business in the proper areas for local search queries, even though your business doesn’t have a physical address.
Enter a specific area
Here, you can enter the one (or multiple) regions, cities, or ZIP codes served by your business.
Step #6: Select your business category.
This determines what search results your business appears in (when people use those terms), and it will also appear in your Google My Business Profile.
You can change this if you need to, though that will mean that you’ll have to complete the verification process again. If you’re not sure which category to choose, take a look at the GMB profile of your competitors, and browse Google’s full list.
Keep in mind that Google My Business offers additional features that are specific to certain business categories. If your business is a hotel, you can add a booking option and list your amenities. You can also ensure that your class rating is listed. If you are a business that offers appointments, you may be able to set up a booking option in your profile.
If that option isn’t available (depending on your business category), that’s no problem! You can also add a URL that customers can visit and:
- Book an appointment
- Place an order
- Reserve a table
- Search for items
- View your menu or list of services
Step #7: Enter your business phone number and website URL.
You can skip this step, but, for example, entering your phone number allows you to take advantage of GMB’s call tracking feature. If you don’t already have your own website, Google will also helpfully create a Google Website using the information that you’ve been entering into your GMB profile.
Step #8: Complete your Google My Business Verification.
As the last step in this process, Google needs to verify that your business location is correct. New users have three verification options to choose from:
Option #1: Postcard verification
Any business can use this option; it’s the most common. Google will mail a postcard with a verification code to the business address that you provided. You should receive the card within 5 days. Once you receive it, you should enter the code in your GMB account, completing the verification process. If the postcard doesn’t arrive, you can have another one sent.
Option #2: Phone verification
Not all businesses have this option available to them. If you do, you will see a “Verify by phone” option when you start the business verification process. You will receive an automated message with a code at the business phone number you entered. Enter that code into your GMB account.
Option #3: Email verification
As with the Phone verification option, you may not be able to verify your business location this way. If you are able to, you will see a “Verify by email” option when you start the business verification process. A verification code will be sent to the email address that is connected to your GMB account (make sure that you can access it!). You’ll enter the code into your GMB account.
Google’s Instant Verification option is available to business owners who have already verified their business websites with Google Search Console.
Bulk Verification can be used for business owners who are managing ten or more locations. Google explains both Instant Verification and Bulk Verification in its Help Center
Make your Google My Business listing stand out!
Once your listing is verified, you can add to it to give customers all of the information they could possibly want: You can add photos and videos and write an engaging business description and optimize it for SEO. Add a services menu and/or a products catalog.
Jump in and start interacting with your customers! Post about your business using the Posts feature to share information that customers need, like opening promotions and special services or products that you may be offering.
Hosting a grand opening event? Let people know. Solicit reviews, and take advantage of the GMB “Questions and Answers” feature to learn about your visitors. Tell them to follow your business on Google Maps!
Use the Google My Business app to help manage your GMB listing. You can:
- Manage how your local business appears on Google Search and Maps
- Edit your business information (e.g. address, phone number, and hours)
- Respond to reviews, questions, and messages from customers
- Share new photos and post updates on special offers and events
- See how customers find and interact with your business on Google
Google Insights is also an incredibly useful tool for any business owner. It allows you to see how customers find you via a Google search or using Google Maps and what actions they take after: Do they call? Visit your website? Read reviews or your Q&A? Search your product catalog?
Knowing the answers to these and other questions can help you figure out how to enhance your profile, along with your website and social media content to attract and engage more visitors and turn them into loyal customers.
Improve your Local SEO and Marketing with McBreen Marketing
Do you want to energize your brand and give it new life? We want to help! First, take just a few minutes to complete our brand audit. We ask you simple, focused questions to help you think about what makes your business stand out from the crowd and about your current marketing efforts to get the word out. We’ll be able to give you suggestions right now that are targeted at improving your branding and marketing. Once you complete the form, we’ll contact you to schedule a time to go over the results to see how we can help.
We can also instantly analyze your website to give you your Free SEO Report Card Score. Find out how you stack up in Google Search results.
We also offer a Free Review Scan that generates an instant reputation report so you can see how your business appears on local review sites.
The ways that people find and interact with your business online are constantly evolving. We want to help you stay ahead of the curve!